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The Dominion: First Nations worried about Keystone XL pipeline

"First Nations and environmental representatives from Canada are ratcheting up the pressure against the oil sands by taking their campaigning to the United States. In late May, a delegation headed to Washington, DC, to lobby against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline expansion and future impacts on the environment and their communities.

The controversial project would funnel over a million barrels of oil sands bitumen each day from Northern Alberta down to the Gulf of Mexico and has caused concern over pipeline safety and environmental and land rights issues that have yet to be addressed.

“Many were intrigued that we were there. They don’t get a chance to hear from First Nations on this side of the border too often. There are a number of concerns we have with this project. Firstly there is no cohesive long-term plan on how to proceed with the Alberta oil sands. It’s really the ‘old west’ in Alberta when it comes to natural resources and downstream communities are negatively affected by this development,” said Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for the North West Territories Bill Erasmus.

“We want to see sustainable development of this resource as well as having the downstream impacts addressed. Canada needs a strong climate change policy and right now there is no plan," he said. "We are not saying no to development, we need to take a step back, see what is truly transpiring and develop a better approach.”

Upon invitation from the US Congress and the Obama administration, Erasmus, Chief Roxanne Marcel from the Mikisew Cree First Nation and representatives from the Pembina Institute, Climate Action Network Canada and Environmental Defense Canada stated where they stood on the project."

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Canadian Delegation Talks Pipeline Impacts in Washington (The Dominion 7/22)

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